Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Response to 450 Wes Students Registered to Vote by Local Democrats

Information below is an opinion letter, not necessarily the view of the other Eye authors nor the view of the Eye. Responsibility is placed on the author of the opinion piece and is published as a courtesy.

Hello All,
This week the Patch is reporting that over 450 Wes students have been registered by the local Dem's to vote in the local election. YES- participation in government is good and encouraged. WE want students to participate locally. However, the alternative view on this is that these students are not choosing people who necessarily the popular vote of the permanent residents would be choosing. In the late 1980's, Paul Gionfriddo's mayoral campaign made a valiant effort to mass register Wes students. He won that election, ironically "some say" that he was not the 'hometown" favorite of those who own property, live, work, and raise children here. There is no way to measure other than word of mouth at the time and claims by both parties on voter feed back.

I was present when Mayor Giuliano gave a speech to the Wesleyan Republicans saying he encouraged students to participate in local government, if they truly showed concern for citizens here and made educated decisions. He encouraged them to get active in Middletown culture and activities. Alex Levin is running for BOE on the same ticket as me and he is a student at Wesleyan who plans to stay for the long haul and serve if elected.It is of my opinion, not that of my party or that of the Mayor, but my own, that when a particular candidate lines up shuttles to drive students to the polls, & works with only single party organizing the effort ( ie College Democrats & The Local Democratic Town Commitee) not a bipartisan group on campus (Democracy Matters), he is sending the message that he Dan Drew does not believe Middletown residents are educated & smart enough to make decisions about who they want elected for themselves.

These students have also not been educated, from my understanding, to the fact that by changing their permanent address to Middletown, they are now subject to local car tax and possibly state income tax.

A plea to Wesleyan students: Not long ago, I too was a college student in a small City. I have had Wesleyan students and professors as roommates since becoming a home owner right around the corner from campus. I love going to Wesleyan concerts especially Taiko Drumming. Please be careful when you vote; use your head, be kind & keep citizens at the front of your mind rather than party affiliation. Realize your vote may weigh more than you know. There are real families attached to every decision you make.

As many letters during election season are written by the party and signed randomly with a name, I decided to skip that and sign my own name.
Food for thought- Thank you!

Molly Salafia, Assoc, AIA, LEED GA - a really annoyed citizen, and yes (R) candidate for P&Z
and author of the really annoying cartoons people love to hate.


Steadyjohn said...

I totally agree Molly. Part time residents; i.e. Wesleyan students, are more than welcome to participate in civic affairs and often add a great deal of flavor to the cultural scene.

However, when such part timers gather en masse to support an agenda they find appealing; i.e following through on the not so well thought out ideas that brought the present administration to power, we find local elections skewed toward an ideology not favored by most small city homeowners and business people.

I have no doubt that the cynical campaign by Democrat activists to bring as many youth votes as possible into their camp can easily influence the outcome of this important municipal election and ensure the continuation of one party rule so detrimental to Middletown politics.

As Molly correctly notes, Wesleyan students do not have real ties to the community and should vote in their home districts. If they choose to vote here I hope they take seriously the idea of taking up residence here, which entails more than mere voting. With adoption of a Connecticut residency one assumes the responsibility of income and personal property taxes.

John Brush

Anonymous said...

Those who registered to vote have 30 days to get a CT Driver's license.
They have 60 days to get CT car insurance and register their vehicles in CT if they have one. They will also be subject to Middletown property tax on those cars.
They need to list Middletown.CT as their place of residence on their Fed Income Tax.
They may also be subject to CT Income Tax.

You all stated on a legal document that you are residents of Middletown,CT.
There are also legal penalties for falsely claiming your residence here if you are not and just attend school here.

Don't forget to vote!

Anonymous said...

Woohoo Voter Suppression efforts!

It's one thing to see knuckle-dragging dirtbags like Chris Healy and Jon Pulino do it. You expect that. It's just sad to see someone like Molly Salafia do it.

It's disgusting and un-American.

Seb's on his way out -- and while I'm sure he'll blame Wesleyan you really ought to blame the property taxes, the fights with the board of Ed and the mayor's culture of cronyism.

Anonymous said...

How is it voter suppression to point out the responsibilities related to establishing permanent residence? College students need to know the impact of the document they sign when they complete a voter registration card. It isn't just a matter of registering to vote in one election - they are stating they are "permanent" residents of Middletown & CT. Residents have obligations to their "permanent" community -not the least of which is paying taxes in the community for the services they enjoy. When they return to their "temporary" residences and work, they are obligated to pay CT taxes on any income. Hope they read the voter registration card carefully - there are severe consequences to providing misinformation ($5,000 penalty and possible jail time). CT could certainly use more taxpayers for "shared sacrifice." Welcome to CT!

Anonymous said...

Interesting scare tactics.
I see plenty of people who have been living in Middletown for years without CT plates, why single out Wesleyan students? And most of the students' cars are probably registered in their parents' names anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Seb, cronyism?

Let's start counting the cousins of Tom Serra employed by the city, and then talk about cronyism.

Anonymous said...

You all of clearly missed the point! She is simply asking that voters be concerned not just with what goes on on their campus but in Middletown at large thats all- She is actually encouraging voting by all who want to take on the responsibility

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I can't let the comment from Anonymous at 12:06 go unanswered. The property taxes are a direct result of the Council's budget; the Democratic council as they have had the majority for last 18 some odd years and the Council adopts the budget and sets the mill rate. The problems with the BOE could also have been avoided if the Democratic majority on the BOE had instructed the BOE administration to adher to the charter, union contracts and now State Labor Board rulings. As for cronyism, I would venture to guess that in the private sector, it's probably referred to as networking and referrals. Although Wesleayan students and all legal residents of the City have the right to vote in elections but I believe that everyone must take this responsibility seriously because each vote on a local level has consequences and ramifications that are going effect the pockets and lives of the residents fora long time to come.

Anonymous said...

"blame the property taxes, the fights with the board of Ed and the mayor's culture of cronyism"

This must be a Wes student without any understanding of the history of Middltown politics.

Democrats control this town. They raise taxes consistantly (except in election years) and they engage in old school patronage. Old school!

God bless the mayor for standing up to the Dem controlled BOE.

Bill W said...

When I went to college I did not vote in that community, but voted by absentee in Middletown. I cared about the town I grew up in, so I voted there.

Anonymous said...

Suicide by pen, "The Little Known Truth of Molly Salafia's Short Political Aspirations".

Anonymous said...

Way to go Molly!!! Just say it like it is!!!!

Anonymous said...

Molly does not think that Wes students should be allowed to vote as Middletown residents but she backs a Wesleyan student from New York who is running for the BOE. Does anyone else see this as hypocritical?

Steadyjohn said...

@Anonymous 8:17 Alex Levin has stated his intention to serve on the BOE if elected and to establish residency here to fulfill his BOE duties.

Anonymous said...


If Alex is going to ESTABLISH residency if he is elected, he does not meet the legal requirements to vote or hold office in Middletown. He must already BE a resident if he is going to vote or hold office.

independent thinker said...

I remember when Matt Lesser first ran in 2008 for the 100th district and didn't even live in the district at the time. He was living on college st and meant he was in Joe Serra 33rd district.

Anonymous said...

Molly clearly states she is fine with students voting if they are informed can you not read!

Steadyjohn said...

According to Middletown Press today:

MIDDLETOWN — Half of the 450 Wesleyan University students who registered to vote in the upcoming municipal elections may not be able to because of inaccurate addresses, an official said Thursday.

Many students used a Wesleyan Post Office Box number to register, “Which isn’t allowed,” Republican Registrar of Voters Janice Gionfriddo said. Students have to use their actual dorm address, not a P.O. Box number, according to Gionfriddo.

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a Dem, but I agree with Molly on this one. The issue of students of voting age registering in their college town to vote is *NOT* a partisan question. Her alternative view is entirely valid. I wish we could get rid of "National" parties at the local level. If everyone running were labeled an independent, then we would all be focusing on each individual's plans and qualifications and aspirations for the role they are running for, and all the nonsensical vilification of this party or that party would be moot. But then, how boring would the comic strips be?

I don't believe Dan Drew doesn't think Middletown residents are smart enough to make educated decisions about who they want to elect. On the contrary, I think both Mayoral candidates think they are, they are counting on it. Dan's got aspirations for Middletown and a lot of enthusiastic energy behind it. I think Seb has done what he thinks is best for Middletown. Neither is flawless. The voters will soon decide who they think will best lead the city in the future.
Once the elections are done perhaps the nasty rhetoric will turn more civil. One can hope, anyway...

Madam Nirvana (Molly Salafia) said...